As new coaches often do, Anthony Lynn is rejecting the parts of his public perception that tie him to unsuccessful coaches and accentuating the ones that link him to the more successful mentors of the past.
In a recent interview with ESPN, the Los Angeles Chargers head coach was asked about the "players' coach" title, which was often readily bestowed upon Rex Ryan before his brand of coaching became wildly unpopular. Lynn served as Ryan's running backs coach in, assistant head coach and offensive coordinator while with the Jets and Bills from 2009-2016.
- Free Agency's biggest unanswered storylines
- Harrison: All-Under-25 Team
- Brandt: Best second-round picks since '12
- MJD: Ranking the '17 RB prospects
- Players who won free agency
- Brooks: Peterson 'just another' RB now
- Schein: Each division's favorite, top contender
- Rosenthal Why is everyone ignoring Big Ben?
- Scouting Report/team fits: Malik Hooker
"I would never call myself a players' coach," Lynn said. "But I think the real players, they crave the discipline. They crave the accountability, and that's what I'm going to hold you to.
"We're going to operate that way. And guys that don't like it, they won't be around."
Remember that discipline was a buzzword throughout Ryan's two-year tenure in Buffalo (and even afterward).
Lynn added: "Players have always played hard for me. I feel like I've always got the most out of players. But I'll be honest with you -- I have got the most out of them because of fear. I don't have a lot of players calling me, asking me how I'm doing. But Rex has the personality where guys call him all of the time.
"I'm probably more balanced now because I've been around Rex. My mom used to say you deal in truth and grace. And I probably demonstrate a little more grace with my players right now. And when you do that, they appreciate it so much. I think the relationship becomes more relational than just professional."
Lynn is hoping this hybrid philosophy works. Or, as Lynn put it, "the big market will turn on your ass if you don't win."
Lynn walked into perhaps the greatest pure coaching situation of any new hire this offseason. He has a future Hall of Fame quarterback, excellent coordinators, the Defensive Rookie of the Year and a running back who scored 12 touchdowns a season ago. His defense is loaded with first- and second-round picks and he's probably two good offensive linemen away from challenging for the AFC West title.
If it takes becoming more Bill Parcells than Rex Ryan, so be it.